SVO prepping to build hard-core off-road version of next-gen Discovery

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division has enjoyed immense success over is very short existence. Its SVO-branded vehicles have pushed boundaries in both high-end luxury with the Range Rover SVAutobiography and high-performance with the Range Rover Sport SVR. Now it seems JLR is ready to expand SVO’s reach off the beaten path.

Land Rover is preparing a hard-core off-road version of its upcoming Discovery 5 SUV, called the SVX. It’s rumored to be laden with new-school technology complementing proven off-road mechanicals, giving the SUV an unparalleled ability to go anywhere.

In a conversation with AutoCar, SVO boss John Edwards admitted the Land Rover brand “is all about bandwidth,” meaning the automaker can do it all. “What we have done over 65 years is broaden the breadth of capability of our vehicles,” said Edwards. “We have taken the opportunity with the Sport SVR to go right, and SVX gives us a chance to go left. It’s clear that a result of that will be that the Land Rover proposition will benefit overall — we will be amplifying the core brand values.”

What’s more, Land Rover has the opportunity to use the SVX name on multiple vehicles within its lineup, including the upcoming Defender. Since the Discovery is slotted to arrive for the 2017 model year, it’s likely it will receive the SVX treatment first.

Land Rover’s Discovery Vision concept had plenty of cutting-edge technology that could make its way onto the Discovery SVX, including the “virtual windscreen and bonnet” that uses cameras and displays to “see through” the hood, viewing the grown just ahead of the front tires. Expect to see the Disco SVX to utilize old-school tech like locking differentials and aggressive tires to round out the package.

Such a Discovery SVX will be marketed in the U.S., the Middle East, Australia, and other parts of the world with rough terrain. JLR would likely introduce the SVX version of the Discovery a year after the SUV’s initial launch, making a 2018 on-sale date the probable target.

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Why it Matters

Land Rover has traditionally been a go-anywhere type of vehicle. Only recently has it focused more on high-end luxury and sporty vehicles. Adding the SVX trim to the mix allows JLR and its SVO division to keep the off-roading tradition alive. Not only does this maintain a connection to JLR’s roots, it also allows the brand to appeal to a wider breath of customers. With that comes more sales and the subsequent profits. And as we all know, the world revolves around making money.

Subjectively, it’s great to see JLR talk about its off-roading roots and the prospect of offering dedicated off-road versions of its SUVs. Remember, the SVX designation could easily appear on the upcoming and all-new Land Rover Defender. Though Land Rover hasn’t made any official announcements or testing mules seen, it’s hard to guess what the next Defender will be like, but a grand departure from its rough-and-tumble heritage isn’t expected. Sure, the next Defender will meet current crash and emissions regulations, but we fully expect it will retain is ability to traverse the roughest of terrain. Imagine what more a SVX version could do with the full SVO treatment.

All told, we’re extremely excited to see what the Jaguar Land Rover company has up its sleeves. The SVX version is a fantastic idea that will likely carry strong appeal for those wanting a true 4WD with little compromises.

2017 Land Rover Discovery

2017 Land Rover Discovery High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full review on the 2017 Land Rover Discovery here.

Source: AutoCar

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
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